We all want to capture the attention of our audiences and bring in new, loyal customers.
However, the ways in which we can go about doing that are varied. While there are many different strategies that can be employed, one of the most powerful is influencer marketing.
Most of the time influencer marketing is considered a B2C strategy. We’ve seen plenty of videos on social media of influencers showcasing products for immediate consumer purchase, which can make it difficult to picture how influencer marketing would work in a B2B setting.
B2B influencer marketing can bring about some great benefits for your brand, if you know how to do it correctly.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what B2B influencer marketing is, how you can implement a strategy in your own business, and give some examples of B2B marketing campaigns from top brands.
What is B2B Influencer Marketing?
B2B influencer marketing is the process of promoting your business, brand, products, and services through collaboration with influencers.
An influencer is a type of celebrity who has made a name for themselves through an online following, usually through a social media platform like Instagram, YouTube, or Twitch.
Influencers have a powerful connection with their followers.
Their followers tend to be extremely loyal, so when an influencer partners with a brand or is sponsored to promote different products and services, it can harness the loyal buying power of audiences and bring in more revenue and sales for your business.
Today’s modern consumers are more likely to trust recommendations that come from a person they trust rather than just brand advertising and marketing.
When you can use this in a B2B setting, you can help boost your brand’s reputation and establish trust with key audiences.
The Benefits of Using Influencers in Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Working with influencers helps you access specific benefits that you won’t get in other marketing strategies. Let’s explore some of those benefits now.
Tap Into New Audiences
B2B influencer marketing allows you to tap into audiences and customer pools that you might not have had access to beforehand.
If an influencer has a slightly different audience than your target market, you can help get your brand and solutions in front of more people than if you continued with solo marketing efforts.
Tapping into this audience gives you more opportunities for gaining new business and engaging in new networks.
Gain Loyal Customers
As mentioned earlier, influencers tend to have very loyal followers who trust their recommendations and will listen to their suggestions when it comes to who to do business with.
When you partner with an influencer, you can access that loyal following and, if they purchase from your business, they will extend their loyalty to your brand.
Push Forward Thought Leadership
Partnering with an influence gives you opportunities to create collaborative advertisements and projects that garner the attention of their followers.
When you use B2B influencer marketing, you can push forward thought leadership and establish yourself as an authoritative source of information and knowledge in your industry.
Give Your Brand Credibility
One of the hardest parts of being in business is building trust and connections with your customers and their networks.
When you use influencer marketing strategies, it can help to build more trust and credibility in your brand.
When people see who you partner with, it increases their ability to trust your brand and can help you establish strong credibility in key areas.
How Does B2B Influencer Marketing Work?
It’s important that you understand that B2B influencer marketing is different from B2C influencer marketing.
Working with B2B influencers is more complicated and more collaborative than asking an influencer to host a product giveaway or film an unboxing video.
You’ll need to consider other types of influencers than social media stars, such as:
- Keynote Speakers
- Thought Leaders
Oftentimes a B2B influencer marketing strategy is more of a back-and-forth than simply sponsoring a video.
Both parties want to benefit and get their names out there, which means that there is more opportunity to come up with unique ideas that showcase the strengths of both parties in the agreement.
How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy
B2B influencer marketing is no doubt a powerful option for marketing strategies. However, if you are new to the concept it can be confusing to figure out exactly how to go about starting to build your strategy.
Here are a few steps you should take to get started in the right direction.
1. Define Your Goals and KPIs
The first step of any campaign, including B2B influencer marketing, is to set your goals. Think about what it is you want to accomplish in the campaign.
- Are you looking to improve your authority and influence in your industry?
- Do you want to encourage people to purchase a specific product or service?
- Or do you maybe want to get people to register for an event?
Whatever your goals are, pick specific metrics that will help define your efforts to track.
2. Set Your Budget
There’s no free way to collaborate with B2B influencers. As with all influencer marketing, there is a cost involved in getting an influential figure to support your brand.
Depending on what influencer you want to target, there are a few different options as far as how expensive it will be.
Figure out what your budget is for the influencer campaign, and then work on finding the right influencer for your goals.
3. Find Existing Brand Advocates
Odds are there are already loyal customers and brand advocates you have who are influencers in some way.
Rather than finding a brand new influencer who is unfamiliar with your brand and your solutions, you can start within your own customer base and see if there are any existing brand advocates who would be interested in a partnership.
4. Identify Influencers Your Audiences Already Follow
Another step in finding the right influencer is to find someone who your audiences already follow.
If there is already a popular speaker or author in your industry who you know is respected by your customers and audiences, they might be a great place to start.
There is already a built-in association that can strengthen your credibility.
5. Analyze Your Potential Candidates
Before you move forward with any influencer partnership, you’ll want to analyze your potential influencer candidate.
You’ll want to examine what their reach is, how engaged their audiences are, and if they have already partnered with other brands in your industry.
You should also make sure there isn’t any room for potential scandal or disruption if you did choose to move forward with a specific influencer.
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3 Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Now that you know how to start putting together a B2B influencer marketing campaign, let’s explore some examples from brands who are leaders in B2B influencer marketing and have been doing it right for years.
1. American Express
American Express has tackled B2B influencer marketing with the help of the hashtag #AmexAmbassadors.
This hashtag allows executives and managers to emphasize the benefits of the platinum cards and showcase the luxury lifestyle and special privileges they get from having the card.
By working with many micro-influencers, American Express was able to gain more social impressions and distribute more cards.
2. Time Warner
Time Warner Business Class used video testimonials from important, influential customers to highlight the value that they brought to other businesses.
Some of those who offered testimonials included Spectrum Enterprise and Green Dot Public Schools.
The videos helped support the download of an eBook and explain how important Time Warner Business Class is for mid-market businesses.
3. Video Fruit
Video Fruit is a brand that provides courses, coaching, and software to businesses to help support email marketing efforts.
The brand used B2B influencer marketing in the form of guest blogging, where founder Bryan Harris began publishing guest posts on other influential sites to share thought leadership and get more visitors to the Video Fruit website.
This led to increased page views, subscriptions, and overall visits.
B2B influencer marketing can make a big difference for your brand’s marketing effort.
It captures the buying power of loyal followers of an influencer and then can be used to further build trust and connections with key audiences.
One of the drawbacks that makes marketers hesitant to move forward with influencer marketing is the cost. It can be expensive to sponsor or partner with an influencer to make a brand deal.
However, with the help of planning tools, you can see how it fits in your budget. To learn more about how to budget your marketing, check out our interactive budget planner!